FIFTY-TWO of the 53 patients under investigation (PUIs) for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Central Visayas have been discharged as of Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.
In its latest Covid-19 tracker, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that only one PUI is still confined and undergoing treatment in a hospital in the region.
Those who were released, though, will still be under strict monitoring.
As this developed, China reported Sunday, Feb. 16, a drop in new virus cases for the third straight day, as it became apparent that the country’s leadership was aware of the potential gravity of the situation well before the alarm was sounded.
In the early days of the epidemic, which has been one of the biggest political challenges of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tenure, Xi played a muted role.
But state media published Saturday night, Feb. 15, a speech Xi recently delivered in which he said he gave instructions on fighting the virus as early as Jan. 7.
The disclosure indicates top leaders knew about the outbreak’s potential severity weeks before such dangers were made known to the public.
It was not until late January that officials said the virus can spread between humans and public alarm began to rise.
There are 2,009 new cases in mainland China, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 68,500, according to the country’s National Health Commission.
The fatality rate remained stable with 142 new deaths, the commission said.
The death toll in mainland China from Covid-19, a disease stemming from a new form of coronavirus, now stands at 1,665. In all, 9,419 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.
China’s fall in new cases follows a spike of more than 15,000 on Thursday, Feb. 13, when the central province of Hubei adopted a new diagnostic method that includes clinical diagnoses in its official account.
The clinical diagnosis is based on doctors’ analysis and lung imaging and is intended to allow probable cases to be treated as confirmed ones without the need to wait for a lab result.
The outbreak began in December in Wuhan, capital of Hubei, which has the bulk of infections.
It has since spread to more than 24 countries and prompted sweeping prevention measures from the Chinese government, including a lockdown of cities with a combined population of more than 60 million.
The virus has prompted many countries to place travel restrictions on recent visitors to China.
On. Feb 2, President Rodrigo Duterte expanded the temporary travel ban covering all tourists coming from Hubei to include mainland China and its special administrative regions.
Taiwan was later included in the travel ban because it is also being used as a transit port by passengers from mainland China.
But Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, in a statement, said members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease agreed to lift the travel ban to and from Taiwan because measures to prevent Covid-19 are already being implemented.
Nationwide, the DOH is monitoring a total of 498 PUIs.
Of the number, 336 have been discharged but are still monitored, while 159 are still confined.
The only three confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country — the 38-year-old woman from Wuhan; her 44-year-old male partner who died; and the 60-year-old Chinese woman who already returned to China -- were included in the tally. (WBS, AP)